The Edo State Police Command has arrested 12 suspects over alleged cultism, attempt to overthrow community leaders, public breach of peace, and possession of arms in the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chidi Nwabuzor explained that, the suspects were arrested by the Command Intelligence Rapid Squad, following a quick response from the Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Dankwara that some suspected cultists have invaded Ikhueniro community in Ikpoba Okha local government area of Edo State.
“A group of deadly cultists invaded Ikhueniro community and attacked the community leaders with a view to overthrown them and install certain people in their local leadership positions.
“Operatives of the Command Intelligence Rapid Respond Squad, stormed the scene and arrested 12 suspects with arms and ammunition on the spot.
“A Pump-Action gun, four live cartridges and nine expanded cartridges were recovered from the suspects,” Nwabuzor said.
Speaking with journalists, one of the suspects, Monday Ohenhen denied the allegations, saying he was unlawfully arrested by members of the Vigilante Group in the community and handed over to the Police.
“My friend invited me for a general meeting in the community and I accepted. So during the meeting, I heard gunshots and I saw some men holding guns.
“I was very scared and wondered what was happening. In order to save my life, and to leave that environment, I followed them since they were going to the police station. I got the beatings of my life.
“I am not a cultist, I used to be a member of the Vigilante before I came to Benin City. I have be in Benin for two weeks now,” he said.
According to the police spokesman, all the suspects will be charged to court.
Meanwhile, the Police Command has also paraded two persons, named Friday Omoregbe aged 28, and Efe Osagie aged 24, for alleged cultism and unlawful possession of arms.
Addressing journalists, the police public relations officer, Sp Chidi Nwabuzor, stated that the Suspects were arrested by Operatives of the Command’s Monitoring Unit during a patrol in Oghede Community, along Upper Ekewan road, Benin-City.
“The operatives of the Command’s Monitoring Unit received credible information that some suspected cultists were sighted in their large numbers with fire arms having a clandestine meeting, immediately, they stormed the scene and arrested two cultists”, he noted.
One of the suspects, Friday Omoregbe, who confessed to be a member of a secret cult, narrated his involvement.
“My friend gave me a bag to drop off at bus stop, but I never knew the bag contains a gun, I thought it was a bag of rice inside, I did not check because I was already drunk. Athough I am a cultist, but I have been inactive for a long time now,” he said.
Some items recovered from the suspects include, a locally made pistol, one cut-to-size double barrel gun, and one live cartridge.